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Art and antiques news from 2001

In 2001 Alfred Taubman and Sir Anthony Tennant, respectively chairmen of Sotheby's and Christie's in the 1990s, were indicted by a US federal grand jury on charges of colluding to fix rates of commission between 1993 and 1999.

Taubman received a jail sentence the following year whereas Tennant refused to leave Britain to stand trial in New York and could not be extradited because there was no equivalent criminal offence in the UK.

In other news restrictions on travel in the UK due to foot and mouth affected auctions and fairs across the country.

The attacks of 9/11, in which 3000 people died, not only disrupted fairs and sales in Manhattan but also led to fewer US buyers travelling to the UK to acquire art and antiques. Trade in antique furniture was particularly badly affected in the following years.

Habitat of a lifetime…

16 November 2001

Q&A: A Sort of Autobiography by Terence Conran, published by Harper Collins, ISBN 0007115296 £20 hb.

Burgundy is still booming

16 November 2001

To prove the point, Christie’s have held their first ever ‘Transatlantic’ wine auction. Dubbed the International Burgundy Sale, this 973-lot auction of the region’s most prestigious wines was offered in two legs, the first 303 lots in an afternoon session at Zachy’s/Christie’s (10% buyer’s premium) in New York on October 30, the remaining 670 the following evening at Christie’s (10% buyer’s premium) King Street on November 1.

Pest is a blessing in disguise

16 November 2001

Of greater general interest was Baldwin’s sale of Ancient and Modern coins that occupied October 9. There were 1403 lots looking for a new owner. This included the 322 lots devoted to the working library of the late Patrick Finn.

Irish reattribution boosts military portrait

16 November 2001

PORTRAIT miniatures are one field that has been performing strongly in recent seasons, an area of the market where the private buyer is very much in evidence.

Football fans more selective but still alive and kicking

16 November 2001

THE new football season brought fears in the sports pages that the game’s financial bubble was about to burst and auctioneers may have had worries too.

Adam’s rib – his interior strength

16 November 2001

The Genius of Robert Adam: His Interiors by Eileen Harris, published by Yale University Press. ISBN 0300081294 £65 hb

Old format, new success

16 November 2001

Trade show strength in surprise bids on fresh-to-market pieces. If September 11 was a watershed in modern history, the way forward, as far as Hampshire auctioneers Dreweatt Neate were concerned, seems to be a retreat to how things used to be – good quality material from local private sources, the trade ready to buy it and one or two old-time sleepers.

Temporary export bar on important Barocci study

16 November 2001

ARTS Minister Tessa Blackstone has placed a temporary bar on the export of an important drawing, Study for the Institution of the Eucharist, by Federico Barocci (1528-1612).

Mixed fortunes in New York art sales

16 November 2001

USA: Mixed signals emerged from New York’s crucial November round of Part I Impressionist and Modern sales, the most significant test of the international art market since September 11.

Spoon market needs stirring

16 November 2001

Owners of silver spoons are generally believed to have a head start in life, and the continuing bouyancy of this market might keep a few heads above water in the coming months.

Huge increase in fine art exports for 2000

13 November 2001

Trade gap in art also mushrooms: Fine art exports from the UK to non-EU countries have increased by 50 per cent in the year ending December 2000. Equivalent imports for the same period also rose by a substantial amount – 26 per cent.

Where to go in London – in 1876

09 November 2001

A 1926 first, limited edition copy of Winnie the Pooh, signed by both Milne and Shepard, that came for sale in these Rendells Devon auction rooms on 12 October was in the original binding but dampstained to the front board, causing some loss of the paper. It sold at £950.

Navy Lists and Railway Tracks

09 November 2001

THIS WAS a very mixed sale at Bloomsbury Book Auctions on 11 October, containing plenty of job lots and much ex-library material, but little of outstanding interest or high value.

Humphrey Repton and a few valuable hints on landscape gardening

09 November 2001

THE Top lot in this North Yorkshire sale at Tennants on 18 October appeared very early on in the proceedings, when, as part of the opening art and architecture section of the sale, a copy of Humphrey Repton’s Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening was sold for £6000.

US appeals delay compensation as Taubman faces the jury

09 November 2001

As Sotheby’s ex-boss Alfred Taubman faced a New York jury last week on criminal charges of fixing vendors premiums with Christie’s, there was still no sign of money owed to dealers in the related civil law suit that was settled in April. The reason? Two US appeals.

BAMF scoops award for droit de suite campaign

08 November 2001

THE British Art Market Federation has been named the winner in the Best Public Affairs Campaign category of trade magazine PR Week’s annual awards scheme.

US fan helps Tunbridgeware at home-ground sale

08 November 2001

After several years in the doldrums, Tunbridgeware is now much in demand here on its home ground with Bracketts auctioneer James Braxton noting a continuing increase since the Liverpool collection sold in the rooms back in April.

Chinese sleeper goes at ten times estimate

08 November 2001

THIS 619-lot ceramic and clock sale at Phillips Chester did not boast such a high take-up as Phillips’ Bury St Edmunds auction but the 60 per cent that did manage to get away sold to the tune of £73,170.

Untouched furniture unaffected by outside world events

08 November 2001

“In light of the current situation...” this is, understandably, now a well-worn phrase in provincial salerooms and Roger Williams was yet another auctioneer to utter them after his October sale on 10-11 October at Brightwells, Leominster.